November 16, 2016
A Tale of 2 Cities
Jonathan is stuck at home. He is unable to attend rehearsal as his daughter is very sick – and he is barely functioning as a result. His residence has been converted into a round-the-clock infirmary, best described using war metaphors: fighting illnesses, battle weary, sleep deprivation. He manages a weak smile upon learning of the impressive donor response to our 3rd fundraising blast – but gradually slips back into a stupor.
In White Plains…
Ahh, the elation of creation after weeks of administrative work! It’s great to be back in the studio—but it’s just not the same without Jonathan.
In Jonathan’s absence, Mandy and Lorena decide to do a ballet barre warm up using music designed for ballet classes.
Since Sebastian has difficulty separating from Lorena in the beginning of the session, she performs the barre exercises with her son in her arms; as a result, she is able to execute most of the lower body movements, but is restricted in her upper body. Lorena attempts to put Sebastian down, but he’s not having it. She tries throwing his favorite ball across the floor to encourage him to chase it, but he’s not into the “dog retrieval” moves.
Sherri attempts to lend a hand at entertaining Sebastian through mime with plastic stackable objects. Hmmm, possible new career as a children’s entertainer? Not. Better not give up the day job. Sebastian returns to hanging out next to the dancers, holding his latest favorite toy – food. Lorena then holds him sitting on the barre so she can execute back and side moves.
Fortunately, Sebastian takes the bait from Sherri, playing with the plastic stackable objects…just in time for Lorena and Mandy to work on the solo. Mandy reviews the material while Lorena listens to the music and evaluates whether the choreography to date is what she really wants. Mandy and Lorena then mark the piece together. At this point, Lorena is able to identify the phrases she would like to change. In particular, she would like to see Mandy take less of a balletic approach to the choreography. She acknowledges that her direction relies primarily on images right now; she is not yet ready to explore emotional interpretations. Mandy reveals that most of her professional dance experience has been with companies specializing in abstract movement.
Sebastian now wants some arm time, so Lorena continues to clarify these phrases while holding her son. To keep him placated, Lorena then sits on the floor next to him and watches Mandy dance the new section.
As Sebastian becomes preoccupied with food bags and plastic circles and cones, Lorena is able to demonstrate qualitative details of the phrases she is working on with Mandy: more shoulders, less full arms…don’t drop the focus until the end of the phrase…straighten elbows in the flowing movements…less head, more rib cage…try not to telegraph what comes next – let it all happen at once. Mandy notes her tendency to anticipate material and flow in to the next move.
Lorena repeatedly listens to the music to work out adjustments to a particular segment in her head and body – then tests it out with Mandy. She keeps refining until she hits upon what works. Since Sebastian once again wants to move in mom’s arms, Lorena must make most of these revisions while holding her son.
Sherri successfully initiates and joins Sebastian’s play once Lorena puts him down. Sherri and Sebastian’s engagement enables Lorena to begin choreographing a new segment of the solo. Sebastian is absolutely mesmerized by the music coming out of the speakers. The dancers, in turn, are fascinated by Sebastian; but they can’t become too engrossed in Sebastian’s behavior or they’ll miss their window of opportunity to rehearse uninterrupted!
Overall, Lorena feels the session was quite productive and is pleased with the way in which the process is developing. Mandy seems pleased with her ability to deliver what Lorena is looking for.
After rehearsal, Jonathan texts the team, begging for videos of today’s session and evaluations of progress made – anything to distract him from the misery on the home front!
Sherri Muroff Kalt, founder of Process Portraits, LLC and author of Portrait of an Artistic Journey: The Creative Process in Real Life Context, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in psychology. She began her career in marketing and sales in New York City with L’Oréal, Monet Jewelers, and Givenchy. READ MORE